52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors #20 Mary Scott (1830-1885)

I recently received a request for more information about David Scott, which meant that I did some more research on the Scott family.  I therefore decided that this week my ancestor would be Mary Scott.  Mary Scott was married to Alfred Docwra, who was my ancestor in Week 2.

One of the earliest certificates I had obtained was for Alfred and Mary’s son Harry Docwra (refer week 3 for details about Harry).  Harry’s birth certificate had shown that at the time of his birth in 1866 his mother was 36 years old, and that she had been born in Bassingbourne, Cambridgeshire, England.

The first records for England that I had access to was the International Genealogical Index, which was on microfiche at the State Library of Victoria.  I therefore did a search for an entry for a Mary Scott, born about 1830, and found an entry for the christening of Mary Scott on 17 April 1831 at Ely, Countess of Huntingdon.  Her parents were Joseph and Mary Scott.

The next record to look at was the 1841 England Census.  At this time Mary would have been about 11 years old.   The 1841 England Census had an entry for a Mary Scott, age 12, at Sprats Corner in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, England.  Also in the household was David Scott, age 7.  Although the index shows Mary and David as being in a household on their own, due to their ages it seems more likely that they were in the household above them, which was for the family of Stoten and Edith Wilmot.

Since Mary and Alfred were married in 1852, there was the possibility that Mary was still in England for the 1851 Census, so the next thing was to check to see if Mary was still there in 1851.

The 1851 England Census shows that there was a Mary Scott, born about 1830, in the household of Emma Scott at Bassingbourn.  Mary was listed as being Emma’s daughter in law.  This census entry showed that her birthplace was Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire.  Also in the household were Edith Scott age 10, Joseph Scott age 4, John Scott aged 10 months and David Scott age 17.  Edith, Joseph and John were Emma’s children, while David was listed as son in law.

As both Mary and David were listed on the 1851 Census as being born in Steeple Morden, I decided to check the records for Steeple Morden.  Although there was no entry for Mary on the Steeple Morden records, there was a baptism for her brother David on 10 November 1833 at Steeple Morden, parents Joseph and Mary Scott.  There was also the baptism entry for a Joel Scott on 13 November 1836 in Steeple Morden, and there was an earlier baptism for Ann Scott on 9 July 1826 at Guilden Morden.  There was also the marriage of Joseph Scott to Mary Muncy on 4 March 1826 at Guilden Morden.

In order to confirm that these entries were for my family, the next step was to see if I could find Mary’s immigration record.  I had not tried to do this before, because of how common the surname Scott is, but now I could narrow down the time she came to Australia to between the Census in 1851 and her marriage in March 1852 in Melbourne.  Since the Unassisted Passenger lists only began in 1852, I tried the Assisted Passenger lists.  The Assisted Passenger lists only had 3 entries for a Mary Scott between 1851 and 1852: one age 13, one age 21, and another age 24.  As Mary was born about 1830, she would have been 21 in 1851, so this was the most likely to be her record.  This Mary came to Victoria in August 1851 on the “Sea”.  I did the original search on the Online Indexes at the Public Record Office Victoria website (www.prov.vic.gov.au).

Since the index at the PROV website only had a limited amount of information, I then searched ancestry.com.au, as these indexes have more details, as well as images of the original immigration lists.  There were two records for Mary Scott.  The first record showed that the “Sea” arrived at Hobson’s Bay, Victoria, Australia, on 20 August 1851.  The image attached showed:

Scott Mary house serv age 21 gone with Bus? & wife on own account

The second record showed that the “Sea” had departed from Plymouth.  The nationality on the index stated Mary was Irish, but the original image shows

Scott Mary house servant age 21 native place Morton Cambridge religion Episcopalian read yes.

I also checked to see if any other members of Mary’s family had come to Australia with her, and found that David Scott, age 17, also travelled on the “Sea”.  His native place was also Cambridgeshire, and he was also Episcopalian, so it appears that Mary and her brother David came to Australia together.

After finding the immigration record for David, I decided to see if I could find more information about him, and I found the marriage entry for a David Scott and Caroline Phillips in 1856.  In order to see if this entry was in fact for the right David, I applied for the Uncertified Image from the Victorian BDM website http://online.justice.vic.gov.au/bdm/home.  The certificate showed that David was from Cambridgeshire, and his father was Joseph – his mother’s name was unknown.  One of the witnesses was Alfred Docwra, Mary’s husband.

All of this information together indicated that Mary was born around 1829/1830 in Steeple Morden, and she was the daughter of Joseph Scott and Mary Muncy, who were married 4 March 1826 at Guilden Morden.

So, what about the baptism in 1831 in Ely?  For many years I had assumed that this baptism was for my Mary.  However, after reviewing the information I had, I saw that the other children of my Joseph and Mary had been baptised at either Guilden Morden or Steeple Morden.  I had found other children christened at Ely, with parents Joseph and Mary Scott, and had assumed they were for my family as well, but when I looked at the order of the children, as well as the distance between Ely and Steeple Morden, I realised it was unlikely that these were for my family.  I then decided to check the 1841 census for one of the other children christened at Ely, Jabez Scott, and found him still at Ely, in the household of Mary Scott, age 50.  The other children  in the household also matched the other christenings at Ely.  This information confirmed that this family at Ely were not my family.